Differences and Similarities of Two Post Colonial Countries: Congo and Tanzania

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Congo and Tanzania are two different countries which faced some similar but also different successes and challenges; this is partly due to the actions of the different leaders of each country. This essay will discuss the differences and similarities of post-colonial Congo and Tanzania in terms of their successes, challenges as well as leaders. Congo and Tanzania faced some similar challenges in their new independendences during the 1960s; however Congo had a much larger challenge with violence and civil unrest. This is partly due to the fact that most of Congo’s political parties formed were based off of different ethnic groups who Spoke different languages and followed different traditions. After Congo’s Independence elections Patrice lumumba was elected as prime minister on the 30th of June 1960, the same day Congo was given its independence.

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A massive challenge Lumumba would need to deal with less than a month into independence was the Secession of Katanga (a mineral rich province of Congo). In the secession Belgium supported Katanga in its fight for independence due to its mineral wealth. Lumumba saw this as Belgium undermining Congo’s independence and asked the United nations (UN) for support in removing the belgian troops, the Un did so but would not help crush the rebellion which continued even after the removal of the Belgian troops. Lumumba turned to the soviet Union which provided aid in putting an end to the Katanga rebellion, but putting an end to the rebellion cost the lives of hundreds of civilians in Katanga, as well as soldiers on both sides. The United States became involved in Congo because the Central intelligence Agency (CIA) openly protected and supported Mobutu when he orchestrated two coups; the first of which was on the 14th september 1960 when he placed Kasavubu as president, the second , a “bloodless coup” as nobody was killed, happened in 1965 when Mobutu himself took control of the government and made himself president-(Fernandez, Willis, McMahon, Pienaar and Seleti, 2013).

All of this is a stark contrast to Tanzania which had the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) democratically elected in 1961 when it held independence elections and had independence granted. Tanzania also did not have much if any civil unrest at the time of independence and elections, it was peaceful. Initially Congo and Tanzania had similar leaders. Patrice Lumumba, like Julius Nyerere and Mobutu, was a dedicated nationalist. Lumumba was democratically elected was prime minister of Congo in 1960 when the Mouvement Nationale Congolais (MNC) was elected into power in Congo’s independence elections. His leadership was short lived as on 14 September 1960 Mobutu took over in a military coup and placed Kasavubu as president. Mobutu finally came to power in 1965 in his second coup, in which he also made Congo a one party state which allowed no opposition to the MPR. He could not be considered a good leader as his actions negatively affected Congo and he was known to practice nepotism, embezzlement and be a corrupt politician. He created a personality cult around himself and even tried to, unsuccessfully, name himself president for life.

According to source 1: “ Mobutu grew evermore grandiose, and his cult of personality more intense. President Mobutu began to affect titles like the Helmsman and the Guide, and the news on state television opened with images of Mobutu descending from the heavens.” He even misappropriated state funds for personal indulgence, source 2 will elaborate on this. Nyerere was almost the complete opposite to Mobutu with regards to his actions whilst in power. He was dedicated to the upliftment and unification of Tanzanian people. Nyerere strongly opposed corruption and even put laws in place to prevent it, these laws were put in place i the Arusha Declaration which will be elaborated on later in this essay. Congo and Tanzania both faced economic challenges due to the legacy of colonialism. Both countries’ economies were under developed as a result of how under colonialism “the economies of African colonies had been developed simply to increase the wealth of the coloners”- quoted from focus history. Congo and Tanzania exported raw materials and imported manufactured goods as their industry was not developed enough to produce manufactured goods. This was a challenge as importing manufactured goods would have cost more than the money they would have gotten from exporting raw materials, they would have needed to export even more in order to make a profit,. This challenge furthered the gap between Congo’s and Tanzania’s economies and those of the developed world, this was a factor in creating slow economic growth. Another economic challenge they faced was neo colonialism-”the use of economic,political, cultural or other means to influence other countries, especially former dependents”-(, 2018).

It was occuring in Congo and Tanzania as most businesses owners and skilled workers were foreigners. This meant that money from African labour and resources was not benefitting Tanzania’s or Congo’s economies as the money made was going to foreign countries. This leakage in their economies contributed to their challenges of slow economic growth. Despite these challenges Congo and Tanzania each had some economic successes. Congo was successful as its vast natural resources created profit for it, it encouraged industry and reduced import duties on equipment and that the United States of America (USA) provided Congo with financial aid. Tanzania faced economic success because of it’s agriculture. It grew cash and food crops in order to earn an income and make a profit as well as feed its people. The Tanzam railway, built by mainland China, also helped tanzania’s economy because through making transport available it allowed trade to take place quicker, easier and more frequently.

Congo and Tanzania were both one party states under Mobutu and Nyerere. This was not a source of challenges or a challenge in Tanzania and was to an extent successful. TANU was democratically elected, and so had no real opposition, it also unified relatively quickly post independence due to the lack of ethnic rivalries between Tanzanian tribes, there were also fewer tribes and most of them spoke swahili, which was successfully used to unify Tanzania when it was made the national language in 1961. Discrimination and promoting unrest were shunned in tanzania, the government even passed the Preventative Detention Act in 1962, it meant that people who caused unrest could be jailed, this helped keep Tanzania peaceful and contributed to the quickness of its unity .

As a result of the above mentioned things Tanzania was successfully unified. The Congo faced challenges in unifying, there are over 200 different ethnic groups which didn’t all speak one language; Mobutu made Swahili, Lingala, Kikongo, Tshiluba and French Congo’s national languages in an attempt to use language to unify Congo as a part of his Africanisation movement, it was successful in achieving its aims but was also problematic as there are 242 languages spoken in Congo, only five were chosen, and the fact that French was the official language of government did not align completely with th. The killing of any opposition also illustrates how the Congo struggled to unify under Mobutu, there was clearly strong opposition and european language Africanisation movement as french was a Eu order to stay in power Mobutu has people publicly killed. Refer to source 3 for more on this.

Both Congo and Tanzania leadership wanted to; create a strong sense of nationalism and African pride. Despite having similar aims the two countries adopted different political ideologies. Tanzania adopted African Socialism and nationalised banks, industry, transport, production and businesses, itt provided compensation when it took businesses and this was considered a political success because it did not simply seize foreign assets as Congo did and thus it did not damage international relations; Congo adopted Capitalism and was much less involved in its economy except for when it nationalised business, without compensation. Congo and tanzania faced similar challenges when they nationalised business as there were few properly qualified Tanzanian and Congolese people to run businesses as under colonialism most people were used as labourers or for unskilled work. This caused economic setbacks like a loss of income due to poor management which led to a decrease in their Gross Domestic Products.

Congo and Tanzania both faced social, economic and political challenges in their new independence. Each country implemented different policies to attempt to remedy these issues. Tanzania implemented laws and workplace regulations which helped empower women in the workplace, promote gender equality and allow more women to become employed.Tanzania implemented the Arusha Declaration which outlined the policy of basic governance Tanzania was to follow in order for it to become a democratic, independent and socialist state. It also introduced a code of conduct for members of TANU to adhere to, it banned members from having more than one salary, having shares in private companies, or owning property and renting it to others. The Arusha Declaration also introduced Ujamaa, “it was focused on villagisation, nationalisation of banks and industry as well as self reliance for Tanzania”(ThoughtCo, 2018).

Ujamaa was a successful policy in some ways as villagisation allowed the government to provide infrastructure, like roads, hospitals and schools, to those who lived in the villages easily. Under Ujamaa Tanzania’s literacy rate rose by 60% from the 1960s to the 1970s, this was because it made education more accessible for most of its citizens and the number of children attending school, especially girls in a society which was still somewhat sexist, went to school. Despite its iaucess it did face challenges : it started slowly and as a result people were forced to move to Ujamaa villages in Operation Vijiji, source four will elaborate, displacing roughly 20 million people because of the policy of villagisation; the collectivisation of agriculture resulted in a 50% drop in crop production. As agriculture failed Tanzania was forced to ask for foreign aid, this challenged Tanzania’s ideal of self reliance.

Despite the initial successes of Tanzania’s policies they are considered failures as they failed to achieve their ultimate goals. AT the start of Congo’s independence, it wasn’t an official policy, the state put money towards education and as a result between 1960-1974 the rate of school attendance was rising, however later on when Mobutu came to power and he embezzled and misappropriated funds there was a loss of state funding for education, as a result the attendance of school started falling, less than 20% of children go to high school. Thiscontributed to the countries low literacy rates . Mobutu introduced a policy which forced all citizens and business of/in Congo to join the Popular Movement of the Revolution (MPR), which Mobutu founded in 1967. This was successful in building nationalism as well as building Mobutu’s personality cult. Another policy introduced was Authenticite, it was aimed at remedying social problems and to create a sense of African pride, under it places with European names were given new African ones, e.g. Leopoldville became Kinshasa and the renaming of Congo to Zaire. It also forced citizens to take on African names, banned priests from christening African babies under European names and banned European dress.

Congo’s policies were initially successful and Autehenticite was a success especially because it helped remove the remnants of white supremacist rule which was removed when Congo got its independence, but as no policies for the betterment of Congo were ever truly implemented and under MObutu corruption was rife, Congo would continue to face many more social, political and economic challenges. Post-colonial Congo and Tanzania were very similar in their initial aims and challenges. However as time passed they faced different challenges and successes due to policies, or lack thereof, introduced by their governments. Ultimately the countries faced a very similar outcome: they were and are both reliant on foreign aid and couldn’t truly overcome the challenges they faced.

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